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These Three Stories represent all that remained of Hemingway's early work after the suitcase full of his manuscripts was stolen in the Gare de Lyon. A masterful collection of three early works by the widely-agreed upon master of literature, Ernest Hemingway!
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Copyright © 2017 by Ernest Hemingway
Published by Jovian Press
Interior design by Pronoun
Distribution by Pronoun
UP IN MICHIGAN
OUT OF SEASON
MY OLD MAN
Jim Gilmore came to Hortons Bay from Canada. He bought the blacksmith shop from old man Horton. Jim was short and dark with big mustaches and big hands. He was a good horseshoer and did not look much like a blacksmith even with his leather apron on. He lived upstairs above the blacksmith shop and took his meals at A. J. Smith’s.
Liz Coates worked for Smith’s. Mrs. Smith, who was a very large clean woman, said Liz Coates was the neatest girl she’d ever seen. Liz had good legs and always wore clean gingham aprons and Jim noticed that her hair was always neat behind. He liked her face because it was so jolly but he never thought about her.
Liz liked Jim very much. She liked the way he walked over from the shop and often went to the kitchen door to watch for him to start down the road. She liked it about his mustache. She liked it about how white his teeth were when he smiled. She liked it very much that he didn’t look like a blacksmith. She liked it how much A. J. Smith and Mrs. Smith liked Jim. One day she found that she liked it the way the hair was black on his arms and how white they were above the tanned line when he washed up in the washbasin outside the house. Liking that made her feel funny.
Hortons Bay, the town, was only five houses on the main road between Boyne City and Charlevoix. There was the general store and post office with a high false front and maybe a wagon hitched out in front, Smith’s house, Stroud’s house, Fox’s house, Horton’s house and Van Hoosen’s house. The houses were in a big grove of elm trees and the road was very sandy. There was farming country and timber each way up the road. Up the road a ways was the Methodist church and down the road the other direction was the township school. The blacksmith shop was painted red and faced the school.
A steep sandy road ran down the hill to the bay through the timber. From Smith’s back door you could look out across the woods that ran down to the lake and across the bay. It was very beautiful in the spring and summer, the sky blue and bright and usually whitecaps on the lake beyond the point from the breeze blowing in from Charlevoix and Lake Michigan. From Smith’s back door Liz could see ore barges way out in the lake going toward Boyne City. When she looked at them they didn’t seem to be moving at all but if she went in and dried some more dishes and then came out again they would be out of sight beyond the point.
All the time now Liz was thinking about Jim Gilmore. He didn’t seem to notice her very much. He talked about the shop to A.J. Smith and about the Republican Party and about James G. Blaine. In the evenings he read The Toledo Blade and the Grand Rapids paper by the lamp in the front room or went out spearing fish in the bay with a jacklight with A.J. Smith. In the fall he and Smith and Charley Wyman took a wagon and tent, grubs, axes, their rifles and two dogs and went on a trip to the pine plains beyond Vanderbilt deer hunting. Liz and Mrs. Smith were cooking for four days for them before they started. Liz wanted to make something special for Jim to take but she didn’t finally because she was afraid to ask Mrs. Smith for the eggs and flour and afraid if she bought them Mrs. Smith would catch her cooking. It would have been all right with Mrs. Smith but Liz was afraid.
All the time Jim was gone on the deer hunting trip Liz thought about him. It was awful while he was gone. She couldn’t sleep well from thinking about him but she discovered it was fun to think about him too. If she let herself go it was better. The night before they were to come back she didn’t sleep at all because it was all mixed up in a dream about not sleeping and really not sleeping. When she saw the wagon coming down the she felt weak and sick sort of inside. She couldn’t wait till she saw Jim and it seemed as though everything would be all right when he came. The wagon stopped outside under the big elm and Mrs. Smith and Liz went out. All the men had beards and there were three deer in the back of the wagon, their thin legs sticking stiff over the edge of the wagon box. Mrs. Smith kissed Alonzo and he hugged her. Jim said “Hello, Liz,” and grinned. Liz hadn’t known just what would happen when Jim got back but she was sure it would be something. Nothing had happened. The men were just home, that was all. Jim pulled the burlap sacks off the deer and Liz looked at them. One was a big buck. It was stiff and hard to lift out of the wagon.
“Did you shoot it, Jim?” Liz asked.
“Yeah. Ain’t it a beauty?” Jim got it onto his back to carry it to the smokehouse.
That night Charley Wyman stayed to supper at Smith’s. It was too late to get back to Charlevoix. The men washed up and waited in the front room for supper.
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